After revealing his prostate cancer diagnosis back in June 2021, actor James Michael Tyler has passed away at the age of 59.
The actor appeared on the Today Show in the US in June, revealing that he first learned of his diagnosis in 2018, saying, “I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which had spread to my bones.
“I’ve been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years … It’s stage 4. Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it’s gonna probably get me.”
He also explained that due to the pandemic, he had been unable to attend one of his check-ups, during which time the cancer began to mutate. He had been undergoing chemotherapy and told the Today Show that his former castmates knew about his diagnosis and that his treatment rendered him unable to attend the Friends reunion taping in person, hence why he appeared virtually.
“If you met him once, you made a friend for life,” the statement from his manager said.
“[He] is survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno, the love of his life.”
“The world knew him as Gunther (the seventh Friend)… but Michael’s loved ones knew him as an actor, musician, cancer-awareness advocate, and loving husband”, his manager said in his statement.
During his appearance on the Today Show, Tyler explained that he wanted his story to encourage other men to attend regular check-ups.
Reflecting on what he would have done differently, the actor said, “I would’ve listened to my wonderful wife, who has been my absolute strength throughout all of this.
“I would have gone in earlier and would’ve hopefully been caught earlier. Next time you go in for a basic exam or your yearly check-up, please ask your doctor for a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. Caught early, it’s 99% treatable.”